Faf du Plessis feels Cricket South Africa "might want a complete change" in the team structure after his sides' dismal performance in the 2019 World Cup, something like England did post their horrible campaign in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
South Africa suffered a four-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand on Wednesday and are now almost out of the competition. The likes of Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Chris Morris and du Plessis himself won't be available for the 2023 marquee event and selectors will have to make some tough calls regarding the future of South Africa cricket.
"I think that will happen naturally with quite a few guys at the end of their careers. So you're probably getting three or four guys getting away from that. And then you will. You know, depending on cricket South Africa, I feel in terms of what they believe is a good way forward, they might want a complete change," said du Plessis.
"But those are things you sit down and talk about. For me, it's just finding -- we've got some young players, so there's a future there. The young guys, I've really backed them this tournament. I think they've got a great future ahead of them.
"What will naturally happen is you'll probably lose six or seven players after this tournament. Whether you want to change more than that, no, I don't think you need to do more than that."
New Zealand have got the better of South Africa in the last three World Cups and du Plessis said he felt like Auckland a bit four years ago where Proteas lost to the same team in the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup.
"Very disappointed. You know, it almost feels like fours years ago against New Zealand again, where we actually played a good game of cricket. I can't fault the game that we played today. We threw everything at New Zealand.
"We've been saying, and we've been hard on ourselves in that as well. We need guys to stand up and put in performances that will win you games. That has been where we've been short in the innings we've played so far. The one with Quinny getting 60 or 70 the previous game is signs of that, but we still want more. We want guys to put in match performance runs, as he showed. That's why I use him as a reference, you need someone to go further, and we haven't had that. That's purely the finger pointing back at us as a batting unit.
"We did well in parts today. As I said, the wicket wasn't as flat as you would have thought it would be. Those first 15 overs felt exactly like Auckland. The ball was hooping around corners there. So we felt like we did the whole work, and we thought it would be easy, but they kept getting a wicket every time there was a 50 partnership, 60 partnership, and you need that to go to 100, and you need one guy to bat through the innings."
Du Plessis also heaped heavy praise on New Zealand who along with India are yet unbeaten in this tournament.
"I think New Zealand is an excellent tournament team. If you look at statistically how they've played tournament cricket. When I talk about tournament cricket, it's probably ICC events. Their win ratio is up there with the best, the Indians and the Australians. They've always used the underdog tag, but they're certainly not an underdog this tournament."
South Africa were in the game throughout the match but it was the brilliance of Kane Williamson that led New Zealand to a nervy victory.
"In the field and with the ball, the guys tried for 50 overs, and that's all I can ask for. There was a great intensity. Kane played a great knock, you know. It's probably the difference between the two sides, just one guy taking it through.
"So well played to Kane. I thought it was a really good knock, showing how to put innings together on a pitch that you need to decide when to push and when to hold back, and he picked his battles. He targeted a few overs in the game, and the rest he just ticked it off. So really good choice from him."
Du Plessis mentioned that they could have shown slightly more intent in the middle overs and shouldn't have allowed New Zealand bowlers to dictate terms.
"Yeah, you're right in saying there's possibly 10, 15 runs in the middle period there where there was a possibility of just trying to put a bit more intent, but even with that, I thought we set up our innings pretty well. That's normally where -- your last 10 overs, you get a little cameo of someone, and you get to 260, 270, and that would have been a good enough score on this wicket."
When asked about South Africa's poor performances in the batting department, du Plessis accepted that his team is not at par with other heavyweights.
"So if you compare our battle lineup, especially our batting lineup to other lineups around the world, purely on a numbers point of view, that doesn't stack up with the rest of the world in terms of numbers. So we're not as experienced perhaps as other teams when it comes to that, but, yeah, the reason why I say not as good as other teams is we're just not producing scores or innings that can win you games."
Lastly, du Plessis admitted that he is disappointed with the way things have gone down but he is not someone who is going to run after his players.
"I said that in regard to this tournament that, if you put everything out there and the better teams beat you, then life will go on. That's -- I don't hide away from the fact that I'm not disappointed. Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed.
"Cricket means a lot to me, and the performance of this team means a lot to me, but I certainly can't, if results don't go our way, you know, start running in the other direction. That's not my character. So I'll keep pushing forward and facing north, and hopefully that will be good for the team in ways, and it will be good for myself as well."